Hotel owners in New York City have agreed on a long-term contract with hotel housekeepers that will not only give them raises, provide fully paid health coverage and offer larger pension contributions, they will also receive personal panic buttons.
The move comes after French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting a worker in Sofitel’s New York location last year.
Under the proposed contract certain employees will be equipped with “devices to be carried on their persons at work that they can quickly and easily activate to effectively summon prompt assistance to their location.”
Housekeepers in New York can expect the devices to be delivered within a years time to housekeepers, room-service staff and attendants who stock minibars.
In the meantime union workers and hotel owners are not responding to questions about whether the system was setup as a direct result of the Strauss-Kahn lawsuit which was dropped in August when prosecutors found that the accuser Nafissatou Diallo, was not credible.
Regardless of the outcome from that case the panic button measure was soon announced and expected by nearly 30,000 members of the New York Hotel Trades Council A.F.L.-C.I.O.
Along with added safety staff will see 29 percent pay increases over the life of their contract with the average housekeeper increasing wages from $46,337 to $59,823 per year by the end of the contracts lifecycle. Those same workers will also continue to receive medical, dental and optical insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses.
While many unions have accepted paycuts and pay increase freezes hotels in New York have continued to enjoy packed locations even with increasing rates which allows for increased benefits during a time of lowered economic expectations.
Do you think panic buttons are a good idea for New York City hotel employees?